To celebrate this fantastic news about one of my favorite bands, I have decided to post their set, in it’s entirety from the 2009 Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, TN. It’s not without its flaws, but certainly worth a high volume listen.
And here is the setlist:
01. MC Intro
02. Band Intro
03. Nonpareil of Favor
04. Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider
05. Id Engager
06. Rapture Rapes the Muses
07. The Party’s Crashing Us
08. Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
09. October is Eternal
10. A Sentence of Sorts in Konsvinger
11. Beware Our Nubile Miscreants
12. Girl Named Hello
13. For Our Elegant Caste
14. Touched Something’s Hollow
15. An Eluardian Instance
16. She’s A Rejecter
17. The Past is a Grotesque Animal
So I get this email from this dude called freesoulJAH. He’s encouraging me to check out his 2007 release, Light Headed. Now I also put an album out in 2007, myself, and as far as the music reviewing business goes, that shit is dead. However, I can’t really resist mentioning this release for a couple reasons. First of all, you can download the whole thing, which is always a treat, no matter what it is. Second, I’m so conflicted on this release that it earns this strange categorization of being in both “Bad Music” and “Good Music.”
freesoulJAH signed his email to me, “with peace.” He doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that seeks conflict, and maybe he’s trying to get on my good side in advance. I don’t know, but he doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that deserves to have his feelings hurt either (unlike Buckcherry or Asher Roth). So though my case about this album could perhaps be more effectively made by presenting the evidence of “good music” before that of “bad music,” I’m going to cover the bad of it first. All in all, it’s because I’d rather freesoulJAH smoked his dope, read this review and came away saying, “Okay..that’s cool…that’s fair.” You know…instead of saying, “Those be some negative vibes, mon!”
I’ve got to poke a little fun at the guy though.
So okay. Bad news first. freesoulJAH initially comes across as a ridiculous stereotype and I cannot, in good conscious, argue otherwise. A visit to his website reveals a dread headed white Rastafarian looking dude. (“What does being white have to do with it, mon? Why you be such a racist? Jah’s love is for everyone!” Right?) His site decor is apparently fashioned in the colors of Ghana or the Congo, most likely. Maybe Bolivia, but I doubt it because Bolivia isn’t a very cool place to most enlightened Rasta homies.
“It takes a lot for me to really like modern reggae music,” I think to myself as I shake my head in a complete lack of faith in freesoulJAH. Then I read the titles to his music. Suddenly, a thought hits me…
“What is this crap?”
Here are but a small sample of song titles that make me sigh, roll my eyes and swear off weed forever so that I don’t ever act like this: “Peace to the People,” “Can You Feel My Love,” “Love Your Brother,” “Singing to the Birds” and the list goes on and on. (Those are just my favorite…to make fun of.) Alright! Peace and happiness and love and blah blah blah. That’s all fine and well, but can’t it be a little more poetic? A little more obscured? Of course love your brother. Of course peace to the people. Anyone that gives this album half a chance after looking at the album cover sure as shit isn’t hoping to meditate on Slayer.
What the fuck, freesoulJAH?
Okay. Then I gave this heaping pile of Jamaican wannabe shit a listen and was amazed to learn that it’s not actually a heaping pile of Jamaican wannabe shit! It’s just immensely misrepresented. Hence we move into that which makes this good music.
freesoulJAH is not another fly by night dumbass Rasta wanker and this is not a reggae album. Though everything this guy advertises is contradictory to what he actually does, he deserves some credit for throwing it back to a movement that everyone respects but few people attempt (or attempt well), the beat generation. On closer inspection, there is evidence that freesoulJAH may even be aware that this is his true niche, as he does have a song called “Next Beat Generation” tucked away among those other, more sterile titles.
Granted, his lyrics are still not all that prolific. Some of them are pretty much just the song titles repeated over and over again. Yet, I can forgive this because freesoulJAH is getting high and making shit. It’s minimal. It’s rough. It’s beat poetry…for better or for worse. That I can respect.
You listen to all this shit on the radio and you hear cookie cutter bullshit, formed to spec for the purposes of making more money and feeding more cocaine to superficial music executives. Focus groups and demographics testing can tell you that the beat in the new Miley Cyrus “song” should include a different kind of snare because children under the age of 14 will like it better. Then some guy gets in there with a computer and makes the change to make Billy Ray’s daughter a corporately constructed, achy breaky star.
Fuck all that.
I imagine freesoulJAH’s process to be something like this: He plugs his guitar and a mic in his 8 track, hits his bong a few times, then lays it the fuck down. It’s great to him because he’s stoned and his overdubs make it better. Then other people also like it because they are stoned, which is a much better reason than liking something because everyone else likes it, or because the sound is like everything else you listen to.
As for me, I’m not stoned, and I can still hang with this. Not repeatedly, mind you. Not at a party. Not in my car with a girl. But late at night, as the evening winds down and the politics of the day resonate around, it’s listenable because it’s real.
You’re a quirky dude, freesoulJAH (and “State of the Union 2007″ is, like, uhhh yeah…) but as far as I’m concerned, you’re still in the cool club. Sorry for the negative vibes, mon.
Download freesoulJAH’s beatnik bullshit here. (Then burn it to a CD-R, write “New Unreleased Hannah Montana Album” on the front with a Sharpie, and give it to the nearest 12 year old girl.)
Back when El Deth Records was a newly budding record label, they used to have some insane events around the southeast United States. Their El Halloween was always perennial favorite that generally brought excellent music, packed houses and enough damage that they’d have to change locations every year. The one five years ago, the 2004 edition, occurred on a huge tree farm south of Knoxville. The line-up included David Davis, Dire Con, Obadiah, Next to Never and Matgo Primo, who more or less owned the better part of the night. Now, to commemorate the five year anniversary of that powerful night, and just in time for Halloween, El Deth has released El Deth Halloween 2004: Dead & Live. It’s a recap of Matgo Primo’s set that evening, in it entirety. (Granted, a bootleg of this night has been floating around for years, but now it’s remixed and remastered from the original tracks.)
Nowadays, Matgo Primo is a very refined band that is about as top notch as music can get in the southeast. Back then, in their infancy, they were no less excellent, but a whole lot more raucous. They often wore strange costume fashions while performing, but on this evening they were decked out in zombie gore. They must have played the part well because this recording captures a very uninhibited, gruff aggression on the stage.
None of the songs performed would eventually end up on Matgo Primo’s debut disc, None, Never. Many of them were recorded in the studio at one point for a great lost album that was produced by Simon Belmont. Though those sessions never surfaced, this live recording is still a pretty good document of that time period and some of their earliest songs. Musically, the most immediately engaging are the ones with member Dorain DeLuca shredding a guitar, rather than keys (“80’s Pop” and “Get to the Show,” for example). There is, however, a noticeable and refreshing increase in the intensity after the cops show up and force an intermission. “In Advance of a Broken Arm” pound swift and steady amid shouts of “Fuck the Police!” “Swamp Thing,” written specially for the show and whose sequel appears on None, Never, is a perfect Halloween song with dark noodlings that climax into an impudent horror show of guitars and yelling. Oddly enough, the whole thing begins with a cover of the Ducktales theme song.
There is a deal of banter on the disc, including an entire track of stage announcements warning of police outside the gates. Most of it is engaging as it’s aimed at the audience. None of it detracts from the meat of the thing. Plus it all sits on the ends of each applicable track, which makes for easy skipping if you really can’t handle the swears and nonsense.
If you’re curious about exploring Matgo Primo more, as you very well should be, but can’t seem to find their catalog hanging around, you’re in luck. El Deth Records has the entire Dead & Live set for free download on their website. Click here to go there and check it out.
There aren’t really any details at the moment, but the news is refreshing: Danger Mouse (producer if Gorillaz, Beck and Gnarls Barkley among others) and James Mercer (of The Shins) have begun a new project.
Said project is called Broken Bells. Officially, Danger Mouse will be using his real name, Brian Burton, for this project. They already have a website up, too, but it’s not much to look at so far. Bookmark it, though, because I’m sure it will deliver in time.
Burton and Mercer have worked together already on the track, “Insane Lullaby” from the Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse collaboration, Dark Night of the Soul. It’s certainly one of the better tracks from the disc. If that’s any indication, Broken Bells just might be well beyond expectation.
We’ve decided to start posting music podcasts here on GMBM. We’ve actually got a ton of them in storage, but we don’t want to overkill you with them, so we’ll see what happens. Each podcast will be presented in a single MP3 file, with a flow of the music in mind. You can usually get more information on the individual tracks (or the albums they are from) by clicking the titles in the tracklist.
Here is the first one we are throwing your way:
PODCAST: The Politics of Aging
“Sgt. Pepper’s Paradise” – Guns N’ Roses vs. The Beatles vs. Jimmy James
“Fine Line” – Paul McCartney
“Coffee & TV” – Blur
“Once Upon a Time” – Air
“Le Premier Amore” – Anaïs
“Golden Age” – TV on the Radio
“Strange Overtones” – David Byrne & Brian Eno
“A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” – of Montreal
“Just a Friend With the Clap” – Shirley Ellis vs. Biz Markie
“Go There With You (Radio Edit)” – Chin Chin
“Bull Black Nova” – Wilco
“Longing for a Frozen Sky” – Ernst Reijseger, Patricio Mura & Gianluca Frau
“Divine” – Sebastian Tellier
“Tonight” – Koop & Mikael Sundin
Anyway. You may recall that we recently reviewed their latest album, Dying in Fast Forward, as well as the release show for it. We told you that it was possible to download their entire catalog at senryu.bandcamp.com. That was totally true, until now.
Not yet posted there is Laughing in Slow Motion, the companion disc to Dying in Fast Forward. But guess what! We have an early leak, which we’re giving away in its entirety, right here…almost now.
Basically the entire disc is a full on remixed version of Dying in Fast Forward. The songs are in the same order, but are newly reinterpreted and/or reconstructed by the likes of Alkaline, Frozen Cobra, Arrison Kirby, Little Red Lung and Agent15. Though I will state that it’s a near impossible task to trump the original, we’ll leave it to you to review it yourself.
And here are the tracks so that you can do just that…
MP3: “Poor Embarrassed Bird” – Senryu vs. Alkaline
MP3: “Shiver And Shine” – Senryu vs. Frozen Cobra
MP3: “Dying In Fast Forward” – Senryu vs. Arrison Kirby
MP3: “Jericho Ruins Everything” – Senryu vs. Little Red Lung
MP3: “Simulacra” – Senryu vs. Agent15
Hip hop shows, perhaps more so than other music performances, are very hit or miss. A group can either dress it up, like Outkast, or dumb it down, like Grand Buffet. The best of these offer something more than a dude and his homeys rattling off karaoke. Live instruments are always a plus. A good DJ who knows what he’s doing can win me over. Sometimes all you need are twenty or more people on stage, falling over each other or humping or whatever. There are a million ways to go on the stage. Prior to his performance, I was hoping hard that Busdriver (real name Regan John Farquhar) would not be lazily rhyming over an iPod hooked into a d/i box.
And thankfully, he didn’t.
What he did do, was take the stage at the Pilot Light rather unexpectedly, during the time that most of us thought was going to be an intermission between Abstract Rude and himself. There was hardly anyone in the room. I even thought to myself from outside, “Why the hell would the DJ be playing Busdriver if the guy’s taking the stage in a few minutes?” Ah, but there he was, crowned with Christmas lights and doing what he does. As the people outside slowly realized the show was moving on without them, they gathered round and the intensity of it all increased.
Verbally, he is pretty amazing. Far beyond all the autotuned garbage on the radio, Busdriver’s voice is distinct and his skill is often quick and always precise. Backing up that voice was a thunderous onslaught of beats and samples, which he controlled, in part, by himself. He also had a guy, apparently named Matt, at the back of the stage, working what looked like an MPC and occasional guitar. Matt seemed uncomfortable, at first, but eventually was right there with it. I can’t say he seemed to miss a beat, regardless.
One of the beautiful aspects of this set was the truly punk rock ethic to it. As Matt beat his pads, Busdriver pressed buttons and twisted knobs, throwing the whole thing into a frequent and intentional disarray. The cacophony of noise never failed to segue nicely into bouncy and epic beats, evening everything out and working the room into a frenzy.
My only complaint of the evening was the song, “Avantcore,” which I had no idea was so popular around here. It began with some strange disjunctive omission of notes here and there, which seemed interesting at first. The problem is that it never really got going. It seemed to drag on much slower than I’ve ever heard on disc. I’m not sure if this was an intentional choice by the artist, but it was iffy on the stage. Thankfully, the energy of all else made well up for this single snafu of the evening.
This tour is to promote Busdriver’s new record, Jhelli Beam. Hopefully I’ll get a review of it in soon enough.
Here is the video for “Me Time,” the first single from Jhelli Beam:
Here are the rest of his tourdates, in case you want to catch him near you (and you should):
SEP 23 – BIRMINGHAM, AL @ BOTTLETREE
SEP 24 – BATON ROUGE, LA @ CHELSEAS
SEP 25 – DALLAS, TX @ THE CAVERN
SEP 26 – AUSTIN, TX @ RED 7
SEP 27 – HOUSTON, TX @ WALTERS ON WASHINGTON
SEP 28 – SAN ANTONIO, TX @ ROCK BOTTOM
SEP 30 – EL PASO, TX @ BLACK MARKET
OCT 01 – TEMPE, AZ @ CLUB RED
Lastly, here are some MP3’s:
In the not too distant past, I reviewed Dying in Fast Forward, the new album from Senryu. Well, the other night, I had the pleasure of attending its release show at the Pilot Light in Knoxville. The night opened with Katie and The Bass Drums. It’s actually just one dude, and his incredibly humorous musical musings, which were usually relating to sex. Arrison Kirby played next. One patron of the evening described his electro/guitar music as “tropical disco,” though I can’t say I agree with this label. Finally, the boys we were all there to see, Senryu, took the stage. The crowd closed in.
Senryu entered the stage, donning a strange assortment of costumes and accessories. White lights shining up from their feet gave a bright, ethereal feel to the stage arrangement. Then, from the beginning to the end, they exploded. Granted, I’ve seen Senryu several times and would, frankly, expect nothing less from them. This time, however, the explosion was so well calculated that I swear there was an IED specialist on hand to see it through. (But maybe that was just Wayne Bedsoe.)
Most of the material performed was from the new release, as well as Pssst and The Guilty Party Rages On, the two full lengths that preceded it. Yet, it seemed there was something intrinsically different going on behind it all. Their upbeat, indie pop was certainly in tact. Surrounding and weaving within it, however, were moments of what sounded like prog rock. There also was epic abstraction in spots, slipping and sliding around the stage, but never cutting its umbilical cord from motherdrummer, Steven Rodgers.
Rodgers’ drumming is something that deserves a special mention here. Always precise and forward anyway, this evening left me in particular awe of his abilities. It wasn’t just that he could keep a beat, but that he could fire off a machine gun into that aforementioned explosion. So quick and direct, it boggled my mind at how he could fit so many nuances into any single moment.
Amidst and despite all of this, Senryu remains a strange paradox. They are a nationally touring band, who can certainly bring it with the best of them. Frontman, Wil Wright, is an incredibly gifted song writer and musician who is incredibly dedicated to his craft. There are few musical units out there who can touch this level of showmanship and ability. And yet, Senryu has still but only chipped away a relatively small bit of that proverbial glass ceiling, even though they hail from the same town as Bonnaroo creator, AC Entertainment. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure they are quite capable of making their own way to where they ultimately need to be. Damn, though. If Ashley Capps, or some other industry mogul, would just spare a little bit of their own precious firepower for these kids, Senryu’s awesome explosion could just maybe evolve into total rapture.
Do yourself a favor and download Senryu’s entire catalog by clicking here.
Everybody knows about it, and here is the closest thing to it still available on youtube:
First of all, I don’t generally give a shit about any aspect of MTV, let alone their overtly metrosexual, excessive and excessively lipsynched, shitfest Video Music Awards. Their idea of good music was sold to a conglomeration of coked out CEOs a long, long time ago. So let’s be clear that the forum is insignificant. Kanye West is full of shit in any setting this could have possibly taken place in.
Taylor Swift. I have not seen her winning video and I don’t care what happens in it. I do know for a fact that she started out her career as a professional song writer with Sony AND she can actually play an instrument. Credibilitywise, this already puts her leaps and bounds above almost every other pretty face on eMpTy-V. However, even if she was as crappy as, say, Lady Caca, it’s still her damned award that she earned fair and square through backroom corporate deals. Kanye had no right…
…unless, of course his actions are a result of other backroom corporate deals. And would this surprise anyone? Look at how much attention it’s drawn to the Video Music Awards. I even heard Sean Hannity’s stupid ass talking about it. And who was on the debut episode of the Jay Leno Show the next night? Kanye! Of course! What convenient timing! It’s almost as convenient as the close-up reaction shot of Beyonce immediately after Kanye said her video was one of the best ever! (Remember…that Sacha Baron Cohen and Eminim thing was totally fixed.)
And what about Beyonce’s video for “Single Ladies?” One of the best videos ever, Kanye? I think he should of said, “one of the most underproduced and overrated videos ever.” Sure, it’s gimmick exploded all over the face of American culture, but come on. One of the best videos ever? Not even close. It’s just three girls dancing in front of a white screen. I would like to believe that one of the “best videos ever” actually took some time, perseverance and innovative cinematic artistry to conceptualize and produce. I guess it’s just one more symptom of America’s descent into mass mental retardation.
What the hell happened to this guy?
Of course, he was kind of wrong then. George Bush actually didn’t care about poor people. (He did do a few really good things for Africa during his presidency.) Regardless, at least Kanye’s opposition made sense then. How do you go from taking out your aggression on old white men who won political races under circumstances that were questionable at best, to taking out your aggression on cute, self-made, nineteen year old girls?
Fuck you, gay fish.
The new album by Senryu is technically not going to be released until the night of their show on September 18th in Knoxville, TN. You know what, though? I already have a copy, suckers. So let’s get to it…
My first impression of this disc is that it’s coming from some place very minimalist. Yet it seems to carry a rather varied array of musical moments, just not at the same time. In any case, it’s certainly the most abstract and experimental Senryu disc to date. The space between the sounds is of particular importance here. While they started moving into that area with their last release, The Guilty Party Rages On, the notion of space becomes fully realized with Dying in Fast Forward. While I am certain the band (or at least frontman, Wil Wright) was aware of this dynamic shift, I must also credit the engineers, Mike Agentis and Aaron Thompson, for their keen sense of production. It is, indeed, not just the sounds, themselves, but the sound of the sounds.
Without being a full on emulation, the whole disc smacks particularly of Modest Mouse, with some of Montreal caulked in around the perimeter. Don’t get me wrong. It is intrinsically Senryu, which is its own very distinct thing. There is homage throughout, though, intentional or not, popping up and subsiding again. This is particularly documented in the single, “Shiver and Shine,” as well as “Jericho Ruins Everything.”
The closing track, “Simulacra,” begins as a Thom Yorke inspired electro-beat song before expanding into something lighter and dirtier. You really feel it, then suddenly it is gone. Gone with it is the entire disc. Clocking in at fourteen minutes, there is the inevitable desire for more. Especially with such an abrupt, yet elevated, end. The whole things works so well as a whole that, since you can’t have anymore, the natural response seems to be to just hit play again.
It’s certainly not a superficial listen. There is a lot going on, however subtly applied. Perhaps that is the gimmick of the whole thing. It takes multiple listens to really map it out in one’s head. It’s not catchy sing-along pop. It’s art. And if there is a structure underneath it all, it’s either meticulously dictated from phrase to phrase, or it’s haphazardly flung on to the canvass. If nothing else, the ambiguity of the process makes this a deep and interesting listen.
If you’re in the Knoxville, TN area on September 18th, come check out the release show…